This gentleman's dressing chest can be confidently attributed to the pre-eminent cabinet-makers William Mayhew and John Ince based on the many design and construction details which conform to the work of this partnership. Most significantly, the use of yewwood with ebonized borders (remnants of which still remain on the drawer surrounds) and the display of shaded and engraved marquetry figure are signature characteristics of their oeuvre. The large scale Vitruvian scroll frieze and engraved leaf clasps appear on a card table supplied for the 4th Duke of Marlborough (possibly for Blenheim) which is almost certainly by Mayhew and Ince who were the Duke's principal suppliers (see H. Roberts, 'Furniture for the 4th Duke of Marlborough', Furniture History, 1994, p.136, figs.23 and 25). Other attributed pieces supplied to the 4th Duke share features which appear on this chest: a commode with engraved clasps that define the corners of the inlaid borders (ibid, fig.30) and a chest-on-stand with the same foliate wreath handles (op.cit., fig.24). In fact, the firm is particularly well known for their use of this pattern handle. In 1782, they supplied a satinwood 'Secretary' to Lady Palmerston for Broadlands, Hampshire with foliate wreath handles that also appear on a satinwood bedroom commode they made for Broadlands (H. Roberts, 'Towards an English Louis Seize, Furniture at Broadlands, Hampshire - II', Country Life, 5 February 1981, pp. 346-347, fig. 1).
The table's top features a trompe l'oeil musical trophy of French inspiration that corresponds to the top of a commode supplied to the 1st Earl of Chichester for Stanmer Park, Sussex (discussed by Lucy Wood in her A Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, group 11, pp.123-134). Pictorial marquetry became a specialty of many fashionable London firms in the 1760s and 1770s and the group identified by Lucy Wood names a few possible candidates who may have been responsible for these pieces. A cabinet-on-stand from Saltram House, Devon features door panels inlaid with love trophies which also appear on some pieces in the Stamner group (illustrated in G. Wills, English Furniture 1760-1900, New York, 1971, p.190, fig.87). In consideration of the other marquetry pieces at Saltram with distinctive Mayhew and Ince characteristics, this piece may be attributed to this firm. A further bookcase with bold Vitruvian scroll frieze and the firm's characteristic ebonized details and marquetry is illustrated in L. Synge, Mallett's Great English Furniture, London, 1991, p.130.
Mayhew and Ince's pattern book, Universal System of Household Furniture (1759-1762), lists a 'Bureau Dressing Table' (pl.XL, also called a 'Gentleman's Dressing Table' in the descriptive text) which features drawers and a plinth, but whose top hinges from the back. Two 'Lady's Dressing Tables (pl.XXXVIII) feature the divided top and fully fitted interior but lack drawers. A table supplied by Mayhew and Ince for the 6th Earl of Coventry at Croome Court appears in a 1782 invoice preserved with the Croome Court Estate Trustees: '1782 Aug 24. A Neat Mahogany Dressing table with a folding top of Extra fine wood with a Sweep front Compleatly fitted up with Cutt Glass bottles, Water Glasses, Mahogany boxes, and a Dressing Glass to Slide, with the best locks & Keys, £10.5s'.